Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Have you visited the land down under? Many people who visit the place are speechless about the mesmerising and captivating beauty of the country. They leave the place with a fulfilled feeling and a promise to go back again as soon as they can. So if you haven’t visited the place, maybe it is time that you make some plans now. 

View of the Gold Coast at dusk | Photo by: Wikipedia user Gccec2012

A trip to Oz isn’t that expensive too! There are plenty of airlines that offer airfare discount promo codes. You can even ditch staying at pricey accommodation by renting and driving RVs/campervans all around the Gold Coast. Heck, some rental companies rent out RVs at only 5 dollars per day thru their campervan relocation promos. 
So there’s no excuse not to visit the Gold Coast and scratch it off your bucket list.

Here are some of the awesome activities that you will definitely enjoy when you visit the Gold Coast:

Explore the beautiful beaches that can be considered among the bests in the world.

Burleigh Heads Beach | Photo by Kerrie Brailsford

Gold Coast boasts some really spectacular beaches that will never disappoint you. You can relax in the fine sands and enjoy the sun while having Pacific Ocean as your view or you can also go for some surfing adventure. Australia is popular for really great surfing spots like the Surfers Paradise. Gold Coast has 57 kilometres of coastline that you can explore with different activities to try as well. It is a paradise indeed!

Enjoy the theme parks with the kids or even the kid in you.

If you’re travelling with the kids then you should include in your itinerary some trips to some wonderful and fun theme parks Gold Coast has to offer. You should visit Australia’s Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World, White Water World, Ripleys Believe it or Not! Odditorium and many more others. The kids will definitely love it and even the kid within you will definitely have a great time too.

Stroll through the rainforest.

Another thing to do during your trip to Gold Coast is to stroll through the rainforest on the Tree Top Walkway. It spans nine suspension bridges that will put you in the midst of canopy and beautiful plants, flowers and birds will surround you once you reach the Observation Deck, which is 30 metres high.  The Tree Top Walkway is free so it makes everything a lot sweeter.

Shop at the best markets and boutiques.

If you love shopping then you should visit the markets and boutiques in town. You can check out the Carrara Markets with 500 stalls of great finds. Free entertainments are also available during weekend visits. You can also visit the Harbour Town outlet mall for some amazing bargain deals that will surely make you go crazy.

Try some adrenaline-pumping activities.

Lastly, you can try some adrenaline-pumping activities that will give you a different kind of high and rush. You can try skydiving, modern bungy jumping, scuba diving, mountain climbing and other activities that you don’t normally do in your daily routine. Trying out these activities will give you extra confidence in yourself.

Australia is a one-of-kind place that you should definitely visit and make sure to put Gold Coast on top of your list. Make your trip more memorable by visiting it with your family, friends or a significant other. And for sure, you will realize how this is indeed worthy to be included on your bucket list

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wondering where to treat your mom on Mother's Day? Seda Abreeza Hotel has put together an exquisite offering for moms and the rest of the family to enjoy. 

Seda Abreeza offers an affordable room package from May 7 to 9, 2016 to cater to your family's staycation. Bond with your mom and the rest of the family in one of Davao's top hotels for only P4500 nett per room. The room package includes complimentary breakfast, WiFi access, use of the hotel gym and pool, and one complimentary Spa Gift Certificate for your mom. (Read: Davao 101: A Comprehensive Davao Travel Guide)

To complete your bonding moments, treat your mom and your loved ones at Misto, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant. It offers a Mother's Day Lunch Buffet on May 8, 2016. Sous Chef Giovanna "Bang" Flores and her talented Kitchen Team prepares a buffet spread highlighting hotel specialties and family affair favorites. You'll surely have a gastronomic satisfaction with the dishes they are going to serve. The buffet includes dishes such as the Angus Roast Beef, Lechon, and a Live Pasta Station. Desserts are also one of the highlights of the lunch buffet, as it includes: Lemon Meringue Eclairs, Caramel Chocolate Trifle, Angel Cake with Rose Frosting, Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake, Apple Pie, Lemon Layer Cake with Blueberry Buttercream, Strawberry Crinkle Cookies, Mother’s Day Themed Cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies, and one of Misto’s specialty cakes – Mango Sansrival.

Buffet price is Php 780 nett for adults, and Php 380 nett for kids aged 7 to 12 years old, and free for kids aged 6 and below. 

For further inquiries and reservations, please contact 082-2443000 or 082-3228888 or send an email to

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Philippine Airlines (PAL) the country's flag carrier recently launched the new Mabuhay Miles Travel Card, the industry's first membership and prepaid card in one! Now, you can fly, shop, dine, drive, and unwind anywhere in the world with your Mabuhay Miles Travel Card. You no longer have to worry about fluctuating currency conversion rates or the hassle of changing your local currency before flying. All you have to do is to load up your card and voila you're ready to explore the world. Your Mabuhay Miles Travel Card can be used to any establishments both online and offline, as well as thru ATMs in over 150 countries where UnionPay International is accepted.

The new Mabuhay Miles Travel Card was launched at Shangri La Mactan in Cebu. It was attended by a number of bloggers from Manila, Bacolod, Cebu and Davao as well as the PAL Team headed by its President and COO, Mr. Jaime Bautista

Pinoy Travel Bloggers at the Launching of Mabuhay Miles Travel Card

Davao Represent!

During the launch, Ms. Mayette Cassanova, AVP of Loyalty Program revealed the exciting features of the new Mabuhay Miles Travel Card. She shared that it is a multi-currency prepaid card and it's the first of its kind in the Philippines. It provides more options  to earn and redeem miles. 

It was a night full of surprises. There were lots of prizes and miles given to the bloggers. 

Experiencing the Mabuhay Travel Card

The day after the launch was the most exiting part as we were able to use the card to shop at SM Seaside City Cebu. We're lucky to be the first ones to use the card. It was such a great experience. It worked! Hahaha. Make sure you remember your PIN as you will be required to key it in when you use the card.

Aside from shopping, we also swiped our cards to stay at Marco Polo Cebu. Yes, you heard it right, you can swipe your card and use your miles to stay and relax in any of Mabuhay Miles partner hotels.

How you can get your Mabuhay Miles Travel Card?

The Mabuhay Miles Travel Card is issued to registered (able to login online) and active Mabuhay Miles members who are at least 13 years old and above. For registered members, download the Mabuhay Miles Travel Card Request Form here and send a scanned copy of the following to 

a. Accomplished and signed Mabuhay Miles Travel Card Request Form 
b. Government ID with photo ( Driver's License, Passport, Unfied Multi-Purpose ID, etc)

If you have not yet registered for an online account, you may do so here: If you are not a member yet, you may enroll here: or you can visit any PAL Ticket Offices to enrol. 

The card will soon replace the Classic Mabuhay Miles Card. It will be an additional card for the Elite and Premier ELite members and Million Milers.

Yes, it's that simple and easy. Fly with Philippine Airlines and get your Mabuhay Miles Travel Card! With Mabuhay Miles, life gets more rewarding!

A photo posted by Glen Santillan (@escapemanila) on

Monday, April 25, 2016

It was another success for Marco Polo Davao as it received the 2015 Hotel of the Year, Bold Leadership Award from Marco Polo Hotels. As a way of sharing the good news to its partners and friends from the media, Marco Polo Davao held a Thanksgiving event entitled, "Celebration of Colors" at the hotel's ballroom.

The event was led by Marco Polo Davao GM Dottie V. Würgler-Cronin and the hotel’s owning company, Halifax Davao Hotel,Inc. (the hotel’s owning company), represented by its Senior Vice-President,  Francis R. Ledesma.

Mr. Francis R. Ledesma and GM Dottie V. Würgler-Cronin

“We are very honoured to achieve this prestigious milestone, as this is a manifestation of our team’s hard-work, commitment and dedication to provide the best service quality and accommodation to our guests. This event is also our way of expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the people behind our success; which are clients, guests, associates, our owning company HDHI, and our management company, Marco Polo Hotels. Without their support, this achievement won’t be made possible” says GM Dottie V. Würgler-Cronin.

GM Dottie V. Würgler-Cronin

Mr. Francis R. Ledesma also expressed his gratitude on behalf of Halifax Davao Hotel,Inc. to the MPD Team and their honoured guests.  “Thank you Dottie for being steadfast and consistently at the helm of things. Thank you to all the officers and associates for the hard work and dedication. Thank you to all our valued guests and friends from the media who are truly part of the Marco Polo Davao family”.

This meaningful celebration also included the awarding of the 2015 Associate-of-the Year Award to the hotel’s Executive Secretary, Ms. Regina Francia Cueva; who is also fondly called as “Boodie” by her associates. “Boodie has been a great asset to the team, and she should serve as an inspiration to the younger generation of associates” says GM Dottie.

The evening was filled with great food, live music, raffle prizes and the much-awaited dance number by the hotel’s Associates of the Month who were also acknowledged during the celebration. The hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Pearl Peralta- Maclang, also surprised the guests with a short video clip of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s well-wishes to Marco Polo Davao.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Japan is among the widely visited places in the world thanks to its beautiful culture and the dozen of places that you can visit while you’re there. Japan is comprised of four major islands and more than 70 cities. (Read: An Amazing Trip To Japan)

One of these cities is Narita in Chiba Prefecture. Everyone who enters Japan via the Greater Tokyo area will pass by Narita, Japan because of the Narita International Airport. Narita is also among the layover cities for a lot of connecting flights. But even when plenty of tourists pass through this place before visiting the other destinations in Japan or hopping to their next flight, Narita isn’t receiving the proper attention that it truly deserves. So here are 5 awesome things that you can do while you’re in Narita City.

1. Take a Leisurely Stroll at Omotesando Street
Fulfill your desires for designer clothes and art by walking around the Omotesando streets. It is lined with boutiques, galleries, studio and first class restaurants where you can kill time and spend plenty of your pocket money here. The street connects the JR Narita Station and the famous Shinshoji Temple. It is famous for unagi eel products. There are about 60 eel restaurants along this rood leading to the temple.

2. Visit Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
Experience Buddhism in Japan like never before with this super popular temple in Narita. This temple complex is located near the Narita Airport so you can drop by quickly after your plane touches down. It was built back in the 940 and it has been popular ever since. There are a variety of structures that you would find here, some of which are the Three Storied-Pagoda, Daihondo Hall and a lot more. To know more about its history, I suggest you hire a registered tour guide.

3. Food Trip
Visiting another country will never be complete if you don’t sample the local cuisine. Everyone can bet a hundred percent that people who would come to Narita would automatically look for a sushi restaurant that can fill their desires with the most sumptuous rolls of meticulously prepared sushi. Apart from sushi, a visitor to Narita should also try its famous Unagi. Eel is lightly broiled using traditional methods, then is grilled after brushing a sweet soy sauce.

4. Wear Traditional Costumes
Get to feel the local tradition by trying on the beautiful traditional clothes of Japan. The kimono was a term that Japanese refer to as their clothing, but nowadays, tourists and even Japanese alike refer to kimono as their traditional clothing. It was introduced back in the year 740 as a simple garment, until it evolved to how you know it today. The gorgeous colors of the kimono and the silky feel of the cloth used to make them will be a sure reminder of their colorful history. You can rent a kimono starting at 500 yen and you can wear it the whole day while walking at strolling around the temple town.

5. Shop till you drop
Apart from Omotesando, you’ll definitely find other places for shopping. There’s the Aeon mall which is extremely popular among foreign visitors because of its proximity to the airport. It features 150 shops that sell a variety of items like make up, gadgets and other trinkets. If you want household and food items, MEGA Don Quijote is a good place to shop. It opened in June 2015 with enhanced services for foreign visitors and has a dedicated tax-free counter. For branded stuff, just walk a few steps from AEON and MEGA Don Quijote and you’ll find shops like Uniqlo, GU and whole lot more.

Jetstar Japan flies from Manila to Narita up to 7x a week. Book your tickets now at

Narita, Japan is more than a place where you transfer for your connecting flight. It’s a beautiful city rich in culture, tradition and history. Have you ever been to Narita? What other things did you do there apart from those things mentioned above?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tokyo is a huge city and 24 hours would not be enough to explore it. Unfortunately, we were only given that amount of time to stay and explore Tokyo so we made sure we experience the city as much as we could. (Read: An Amazing Trip to Japan)

We left Manila via the Jetstar Japan's Inaugural Flight early in the morning and arrived in Narita after five hours. From Narita Airport's terminal 3, we walked towards terminal 2 to catch the Narita Express Train going to Tokyo. Japan Rail has an ongoing promo of 4,000 yen for a return train ticket, Narita-Tokyo-Narita for all visitors. All you have to do is show your passport which what we exactly did. After almost an hour, we arrived at Tokyo Train Station.

From Tokyo train station, we took a cab to Ginza Capital Hotel. Since the regular check in time is at 3pm, we decided to just leave our bags and head straight to explore the city. I was with Joshua and he happens to have local friends, Midori and Lina, he met during one of his travels who volunteered to accompany us in our short adventure.

With our new friends Midori and Lina at Shinjuku Garden

Because we have Lina and Midori, we didn't worry much about how to go to the destination we want to visit which basically saved us some time. Our hotel is close to a train station so we took the subway and went to Shinjuku to see the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and hoping that there would be some cherry blossoms.

After arriving at Shinjuku station, we decided to eat. We wanted ramen, so, we walked around and found a ramen house. I rarely eat ramen in the Philippines so I thought I would just share a bowl with Gabz. Our Japanese friends were surprised because they can actually finish a whole bowl, so I changed my mind and ordered a bowl for myself. Lina and Midori suggested the ramen that we should try and we ordered them. What I had was really good. It was the best ramen I have ever tasted. I actually finished the whole bowl and even ate a portion of Gabz ramen as he was not able to finish it. I officially love ramen! Hahaha. Thanks to Midori for treating us with a sumptuous bowl of ramen.

The best ramen I've tasted so far somewhere near Shinjuku train station. A huge serving for only ¥700. Thank you Lina Tsuda for the treat.
Posted by Glen Santillan on Friday, March 18, 2016

After satisfying our gastronomic cravings, we walked our way to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. When we reached the gate, I was rally hoping to see at least some cherry blossoms. And voila, when we entered, we saw a cherry blossom from afar. It wasn't looking really good but we're happy to have seen it. It's on the top of my bucketlist so I was really happy. We were so ecstatic. We took photos like there's no tomorrow. We thought that was it.

An then... as we continued exploring the park, we saw another sakura in full bloom. It was better and more picturesque than the first one. Imagine how we reacted. It was just phenomenal. I was awe-mazing. We took photos and selfies here and there. It was such an amazing experience.

Next on the itinerary was Ueno Park. It is a huge public park next to Ueno Station in central Tokyo. We did not have a lot of time so we were not able to explore much of the park. We got a good glimpse of it and if ever I will be coming back to Tokyo, I would love to explore it more.

Kalapating mababa ang lipad. #Japan Photo by Pinoy Travel Freak
Posted by Glen Santillan on Monday, March 28, 2016

It was almost dark when we left Ueno Park. We decided to go to Shibuya to see Hachiko's statue and the famous Shibuya Crossing. There were just too many people in there. After taking a photo with Hachiko, we decided to go to Starbucks as it would give us a good view of Shibuya Crossing. Midori and Lina already left so it was only the three of us left. We stayed at Starbucks for a couple of minutes and we decided to go shopping. 

A photo posted by Glen Santillan (@escapemanila) on

We were already tired so we decided to go back to the hotel. Thanks to Japan's reliable and efficient train network, we're able to go back to the hotel easily. We checked in, then went out to eat and discovered a small restaurant near the hotel. It was a semi-self service resto. The food was really good. I ate my katsudon with gusto.

We wanted to shop more so we walked to Ginza Central, unfortunately it was almost 9pm when we arrived so most shops were already closing. It was definitely  a fail. Since we can't shop, we decided to call it a night and went back to the hotel. 

I had a terrible headache so I went straight to my room and slept. Gabz and I woke up early to go to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Unfortunately, we arrived late so we were not able to join the tour. There's a limit of the number of tourists who can join and you have to go there before 5am. It was a bit disappointing but we just decided to explore the area a little bit then went back to the hotel.

Since we have to checkout by 9am to go back to Narita, we decided to take a breakfast at the restaurant where we had dinner at since we really love the food. I ordered a salmon breakfast meal and it was delicious. It's a good value for money!

We went back to the hotel, checked out and head back to Narita. Our Tokyo trip ended just like that. It was short but epic! I will be back for more fun and adventure.

***Jetstar Japan flies to Tokyo (Narita) direct from Manila 5x a week. Book your tickets at

Monday, March 21, 2016

Japan has always been in my bucketlist since I started traveling in 2009. I am a freelancer so I thought it would be difficult to get a visa. Luckily, the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines  has made some adjustments to ease the process of getting a Japan Visa for Filipinos.

Enjoying the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

There are a number of airlines that operate a route from Manila to different cities in Japan. Recently, Jetstar Japan has launched a new route from Manila to Narita and I was lucky enough to be on their inaugural flight. (Read: Jetstar Japan Launches Direct Manila-Tokyo Flight)

Jetstar Japan's Inaugural Flight from Manila to Narita in full capacity

The moment I got hold of my passport with  a Japan visa, I got really excited. Finally, I'll be able to visit Japan and it's the beginning of spring so I was really hoping to see the famous cherry blossom. I got my passport at around 6PM and the flight was at 1AM so imagine how paranoid I was. I thought I would not be able to fly that night. Fortunately, I did. Thanks to Holiday Travel and Tours, NGP Integrated Marketing Communications and Reli Travel and Tours, I got my visa just in time for Jetstar Japan's Inaugural Flight.

It was the longest 30 minutes of my traveling life. Visa approved! Just in time for JETSTAR Japan's Manila-Tokyo...
Posted by Glen Santillan on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The trip was very short but definitely sweet. We left Manila on March 16 and departed Japan on March 17. We basically had a full two days to enjoy Japan. We had loads of fun from the airport in Manila to exploring the attractions in Tokyo and Narita.

#Japan #Jafun sagot sa kahirapan! Hahaha. Pinoy travel bloggers @pinoytravelfreak @wandering1juan @escapemanila at @jetstar Japan's inaugural flight.
Posted by Glen Santillan on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The good thing about flying with Jetstar Japan from Manila is its flight schedule. The flight is at 1AM and arrives in Narita at around 6AM. It departs from Narita to Manila at 8PM and arrives in NAIA at around 12MN. So there, if you take a Jetstar flight, you'll have a chance to stretch your holiday from dawn to dusk.

Aside from the schedule, I also noticed the excellent customer service provided by both the cabin and the ground crews. The flight attendants were really courteous and they would make sure that you are comfortable with your flight. 

When we landed in Narita, we were kinda hungry so after clearing the immigration, we headed to the airport's food court and had our first meal in Japan. It was good and it wasn't that expensive as I thought it would be.

First meal here in #japan #EscapeManilaToJapan #travel #Jetstar Japan now flies to Tokyo and Osaka direct from...
Posted by Glen Santillan on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

After satisfying our gastronomic cravings, we took the Narita Express Train to Tokyo. We reached Tokyo station after almost an hour, took a cab and went straight to Ginza Capital Hotel. The regular check in time in Japan is at 3PM and checkout at 10AM. Since we arrived early, we just left our baggage in the hotel and explored the city as much as we could. I'll tell you more about it in my next post. All I can say for now is, it was really great to see Tokyo for the first time!

With new friends, Midori and Lina. Thank you both for showing us the beauty of Tokyo. Photo by +Pinoy Travel Freak 

We arrived back in the hotel at around 7PM, settled down and went out again to eat and shop. We discovered a small restaurant near the hotel which offers cheap but super delish meals. It became our instant favorite resto. 

After dinner, we walked to Ginza to shop but unfortunately, the stores close at 9PM so it was a bit disappointing. Hahaha. We head back to the hotel, slept and woke up early to go to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. 

Within the vicinity of the Tsukiji Fish Market at dawn

We checked out at the hotel at 9AM and head back to Narita. We got a chance to explore Narita in a day. Thank you to the Narita Tourism Office for showing us what the city has to offer. Indeed, it's more than just a jump-off point to Tokyo. 

NARITA: Trying out Unagi for the first time

At 8PM we departed Narita and just like that, we arrived in Manila at around 12 midnight. It was really short but memorable. I wish to go back there soon and explore more. 

Thank you Jetstar Japan for the opportunity to see Narita and Tokyo. You're awesome! 

You can book your flights at