Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Treats No. 36

Ragu alla Bolognese - Php310.00


Bellagio Square, Tomas Morato cor. Scout Fuentabella
South Triangle, Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 376-6458

Friday, June 27, 2014

Osaka Travel and Food Adventure

The news of Japan's lifting of the visa requirement late last year got me so excited I booked a ticket to the Land of the Rising Sun right away. Two months have passed and still no concrete sign of the visa waiver, we decided to file for a tourist visa through one of Japan Embassy's accredited travel agencies, Reli Tours. It actually took no more than three days before our visa was issued and we're all set for my first Japan adventure!

Osaka is Japan's second most important city (after Tokyo) and third largest with a population of 2.5 million. Flight from Manila to Kansai Airport in Osaka takes about four hours with Japan one hour ahead of us. There are actually three gateways to Japan from Manila: Haneda and Narita in Tokyo and Kansai in Osaka Prefecture.

From the airport, we took the Nankai train to Tengachaya station then transferred to Sakaisujisen line going to Minami-morimachi station, the nearest exit to our hotel in Umeda - Hotel Il Grande. One way fare is approximately Php560 (JPY1120) for an hour ride.

You don't have to speak Nihongo to acclimate yourself with Japan's efficient train system. All you need to know is the name of the station where you are going and you can check the fare and color-coded train line to point you to the right direction.

Umeda is Osaka's center of local economy and jump off point for tourists wanting to explore the city and nearby Kyoto. We booked Hotel Il Grande through Agoda for its convenient location, free wifi, and well-kept rooms for a great value of just Php3,500 per night.

Right across our hotel is a branch of Japan's most popular burger joint - MOS Burger.

Lemon Iced Tea - Php115.00 (JPY230)

French Fries - Php140.00 (JPY280)

MOS Burger - Php170.00 (JPY340)

People in Osaka spend more on food that anything else according to our guide, hence the "eat until you drop" food culture locals here are most known for. Part of being lost in the extensive and crowded Osaka Station is finding this food court in an underground mall with loads of inexpensive and delicious treats from appetizer to dessert.

Rice and Noodles Set Meal - Php500.00 (JPY1000)

Hiyashi - Php400.00 (JPY800)

A covered shopping complex located north of Dotonburi, Shinsaibashi-Suji is a shopper's big and long chunk (about 600 meters) of heaven this side of Japan. This busy shopping destination has a wide collection of branded and specialty shops, independent boutiques and local restaurants.

Gyudon - Php130.00 (JPY260)

Watch out for more Japan travel adventures in the coming posts!


Hotel Il Grande Umeda
3-5-23 Nishitenma, Kita Ward
Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Tel.: (81) 6-6361-7201

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Tour Around the World: St. Tropez and Mykonos Villages

St. Tropez Village in Balesin Island Club treats its guests with the glitz and glamor of France's Mediterranean coastline -- the splendid French Riviera, known for its mesmerizing quaint beauty, the playground of the wealthy Parisian jet-setters and where the rich and famous dress to the nines to party and lounge in their expensive yachts.

Balesin's St. Tropez exudes a unique charm with a beautiful swimming pool, colorful sun loungers and hotel rooms similar to that of Hotel Byblos, St. Tropez' epicenter of glamorous and high fashion summer party scene, with its low-rise and sunny-colored theme.

Visiting Mykonos and Santorini in Greece has always been on the top of my bucket list so you can just imagine my delight when I finally step foot at Balesin's Mykonos Village!

The charm of Mykonos' simplicity -- the white-washed walls, grecian blue doors and windows, narrow streets and cobblestone roads have always enticed me from the moment I saw it in a travel magazine many years ago. Since I can't afford a trip to this Greek Island just yet, Balesin's Mykonos Village is the closest I can get to my personal Shangri-la.


Balesin Island Club
Lamon Bay, Polillo
Quezon Province, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 998-9521

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Tour Around the World: Balesin Village

An unmatched natural beauty with a vast area of 500 hectares, Balesin Island Club is the epitome of grandeur, unique and extravagant lifestyle located off the coast of Polillo, Quezon Province. This exclusive, members-only paradise can only be reached through a private plane offered by the resort at Php7,000 per person for a round trip ticket. Balesin is composed of seven beautiful themed villages namely Balesin, Bali, Phuket, Mykonos, St. Tropez, Costa del Sol and Toscana.

Members and guests are greeted with beautifully-landscaped pools strategically located within the island. The resort had 80% occupancy when we arrived but it never felt crowded and we still enjoyed the privacy like we had the entire place to ourselves.

Balesin Island Club is designed as an eco-island resort that combines luxury and sustainability. Apart from organic farming and utilization of alternative sources of energy, the club harvests rain water and recycles it through reverse osmosis that provides potable water to the entire resort .

All seven villages have individual charm and allure but since we were billeted in Balesin Village, we always end up dining at the resort clubhouse. Succulent food choices, fast and impeccable service and amazing view from our table, so who am I to complain?

Complimentary breads

Crispy Pata

Chicken Binakol

Beef Tapa



Balesin Island Club
Lamon Bay, Polillo
Quezon Province, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 998-9521
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