A Day in Macau

Traveling to another country is always a surreal experience to everyone. You can see new places and experience new things which you’ve never seen and done in your own country. Fortunately, Benji and I were finally able to experience that, too. Because last September, we traveled abroad for the first time and the first country we visited is Macau.

At first, we only planned to visit Hong Kong. However, we booked via Cebu Pacific’s promo and the cheapest fare we got is to fly to Macau. I know it’s very near to Hong Kong so I didn’t hesitate to book it. I’ll do a separate blog about Hong Kong so please wait for it. Please note that this blog isn’t fully a travel guide. It’s about our trip.

About Macau

Macau is special administrative region of China and it’s a 2-hour ride from the Philippines by air. This region is famous for its huge casinos, luxury hotels, spectacular architectures and Western cultural heritage tourism. It’s a small country but you can definitely do a lot of things here. No doubt many people from all over the country love going to Macau.

Macau Masters Hotel

There are many hotels in Macau but most of them are luxurious. You can only find few budget hotels. The cheapest hotel we found during our trip is Macau Masters Hotel. We booked it via Traveloka for Php 2,600 per night. I like this hotel because it’s very near to Senado Square, Ruins of St. Paul, restaurants, and other tourist spots in Macau. The bus stop is just in front of the hotel, too. You can also leave your luggage at their front desk even after checking out.

Check in time is at 3:00 PM but you can also check in late. We arrived there at 12 midnight and we didn’t have a hard time checking in.

How to get there: From Macau International Airport, take MT4 bus or bus 26A and get off at Rua das Lorchas bus stop.

Fare: 6 MOP/person

A Walk From Senado Square to Mount Fortress

We only have 1 day to explore Macau because we had to go to Hong Kong at 4:00 PM so we only visited few places and one of them is Senado Square.

Senado Square (Largo do Senado) is a must-visit in Macau for every tourists. This is a public square and a part of UNESCO Historic Center of Macau World Heritage Site.

We were there at around 9:30 AM and there were still only few people when we got there. It’s also Mid-Autumn Festival at that time that’s why there were many decorations around the square. The square is simple but surrounded by beautiful buildings which are perfect example of Portuguese architecture. The wave-patterned mosaic ground makes this square more beautiful, too.

While walking in Senado Square, you’ll see lots of shopping centers, restaurants and food stalls. Some stores were still closed when we arrived there but after we went back from the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the street became crowded and all stores were already opened. We didn’t have breakfast in the hotel so we bought the Michelin-recommended pepper meatball and it’s really good. I still can remember the taste while writing this blog.

Dai Kwan 胡椒餅 recognised by the Michelin food guide for HK & Macau as one of the twelve cheap eats place worth trying in Macau.

At the end of the paved road, you can see the yellow-painted St. Dominic’s Church (Sto. Domingo Church). Of course, we had to take some pictures in front of it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside because it was closed.

After taking some few photos, we walked to north of the church and there we found the most famous landmark in Macau, Ruins of St. Paul’s (Ruínas de S. Paulo). This was once the biggest Catholic church in Asia but it was destroyed by fire in 1835 leaving only its wonderful facade.

There were already hundreds of people when we arrived there. The weather was sunny and hot but me, Benji and all other tourists didn’t mind the heat.

Our last stop was in Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte). This is the historical military centre of Macau. The fort was built between 1617 and 1626 located directly east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s. If you want to see the stunning view of the city, this is one of the best place to visit because this fort was built on top of Mount Hill which is 52 meters above sea level.

We were so thirsty and hungry after we finished exploring these wonderful places. So we went back to Senado Square and bought fruit tea. We also decided to have lunch since it’s already 11:00 AM. After lunch, we went back to the hotel to check out.

Macau Tower

After checking out, we finally headed to Macau Tower (Torre de Macau). We took the wrong bus at first but luckily there were Filipinos on the bus and they willingly helped us take the correct bus.

Do not forget to go to Macau Tower whenever you’re in Macau because this place is one of the most important landmark of the city. The 338-metre tall tower was opened in 2001. It has an observation deck which offers a panoramic view of Macau.

You can also try exciting activities here such as bungee jumping, skywalk, skyjump and tower climb. If you want to try these activities, you can buy discounted tickets via Klook. This is where we bought our tickets but we only used the observation lounge on level 58 because we had limited budget and I couldn’t do those activities either because of my heart condition. Still, just looking at the city’s skyline is fascinating. The panoramic view of Macau Peninsula and Taipa, Coloane Islands and even the outlying island of Hong Kong is breathtaking.

How to get there: Take bus numbers 5, 9A, 18B, 18, 23, 26, 32, 73, or N2

Fare: 6 MOP

There’s also free shuttle bus between Studio City, Macau Ferry Terminal, Altira, Macau city centre, Taipa city centre and MGM Cotai

Shuttle bus schedule of MGM Cotai

The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Macau

Who wouldn’t miss going to the Venetian Macau especially the Grand Canal Shoppe? This is an upscale shopping mall inside The Venetian Hotel & Casino. It has indoor canals, where you can ride and relax on a traditional gondola boat. It may not be Italy, but you can try out this very Italian experience within the Venetian Hotel.

We went here on the 3rd day as our last destination for our trip before we fly back to the Philippines. This place is insane! It’s inside the hotel but you can enter for free. The moment we entered this hotel, we couldn’t help but drop our jaw because the interior of the hotel is so elegant. We felt like we’re inside a castle.

Absolutely insane ceiling!
Would you even believe that this is a washroom???!!

When we reached the Grand Canal on the 3rd floor, we were surprised with the artificial blue sky ceiling. It was 9:30 PM at that time but because of the ceiling, we thought we’re walking outdoors in daylight. The canal looks fascinating, too. I love how they make the whole environment like Venice, Italy.

If you still have a lot of budget, then you might want to go shopping here, too. Just remember that you won’t find cheap products here because most of the stores sell luxury brands.

Since we’re already on our way home, of course we had to buy egg tart for pasalubong. Lord Stow’s Bakery & Café is home to the original egg tart and luckily they have a branch here in the Venetian. They are baked fresh daily on site and are considered, by many, to be the original and the best. For only 60 MOP, you can already buy 6pcs of egg tarts.

We only had a day tour here and we regret not spending even one night. All of the major hotels here are really magnificent and I hope we’re able to go hotel-hopping. We will come back here and we’ll definitely try to explore Macau more.

How was your trip to Macau? Share your thoughts below!

Tagaytay Staycation: Crosswinds Swiss Luxury Resort

When we think about staycation, one of the places that pops into our mind is Tagaytay. Just like in Baguio, it also has a cool climate and picturesque view. That’s why it’s the best place for someone who just wants to relax and have a quick getaway.

Me and Benji had a short vacation this Lunar New Year 2019. We were supposed to go to Hong Kong but due to some conflict, we had to cancel it. So we just decided to have a staycation in Tagaytay and we chose Crosswinds Swiss Luxury Resort.

About the Resort

Crosswinds is a 100-hectare Swiss-inspired development sitting atop one of the highest points in Tagaytay. Crosswinds offers a quiet alpine escape because this resort has approximately 20,000 pine trees. No doubt you can feel Christmas 365 days in a year! This magical place is also called “The Switzerland of the Philippines”.

The Grand Quartier 3

The room we booked is in Tower 3 of the Grand Quartier. We had to ride a shuttle because it’s far from the gate of Crosswinds community. When we arrived to the Grand Quartier, we couldn’t help but be amazed with it. The building is so beautiful. It looks like a castle.

The Room

The room we booked is very spacious and cozy that can accomodate 2-5 persons. It has one queen sized bed plus an extra pull-out bed. The bathroom is also big and it has a heated shower and a bidet. Kitchenware is already provided and basic appliances such as refrigerator, airconditioner, television, microwave, stove are all here. This room is fully-equipped and beautifully furnished. The room we booked doesn’t offer free meals but you can bring in food with no corkage fee.

My favorite part of this room is the balcony because it’s overlooking the breathtaking view of the mountain side and pine trees. We really loved staying here. This room has a big glass sliding door so you can see the scenic view even though you’re just lying on the bed. We didn’t even close the curtains at night and even while we were sleeping. It’s just too beautiful.

Crosswinds Amenities

  • Indoor Pool with Jacuzzi

The indoor pool is located at the Amenities Floor of Tower 3. It opens from 8 AM to 10 PM but jacuzzi is turned on up to 5 PM only. However, when we tried to go swimming at 7 PM, the indoor pool is already closed. So we just went swimming in the morning and we were lucky because we got the whole pool to ourselves!

  • Outdoor Pool with Kiddie Pool

This pool is located in the Clubhouse and opens from 8 AM to 5 PM. If you want to extend after 5 PM, you need to pay Php 150 per head to the pool attendant.

We didn’t use the outdoor pool because the weather was cool and windy. It was raining in the morning, too. I only stayed in jacuzzi because the water was very cold.

Photo from Swiss Luxury Resort Tagaytay Studio Suite Facebook

Note: Always wear proper swimming attire.

  • Gym

The gym is also located at the Amenities Floor of Tower 3 near the indoor pool. It opens from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Crosswinds Parks

If you think you’re already bored staying in your room, no worries because Crosswinds has a lot of parks and they are all instagram-worthy!

  • Trone Giant Chair

  • Lucent Stone Pillars

  • Christmas Village

  • La Verne Woods
  • Prairie Park
  • Alpine Greens

Unfortunately, we didn’t see all of the attractions of Crosswinds. We didn’t expect the resort to be so wide. Still, we enjoyed walking and relishing the beauty of nature. For guests who don’t have a private vehicle, the shuttle service is also available for going around the Crosswinds community. Just advise the Front Desk in advance.

Where to Eat

The hotel’s restaurant facilities are currently in the works but no worries because there are a lot of restaurants near Crosswinds. Here are some suggestions:

  • Café Voila
  • Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
  • Balay Dako
  • LZM
  • Siglo’s Tagaytay
  • Papa Dom’s Bar and Restaurant
  • Nonoy’s Chicken

But for me and Benji, we wanted to try the cheapest ones. Because for us, the cheapest is the most delicious. We had dinner in a small canteen in front of the Picnic Grove and we had lunch at People’s Park.

Dinner: Lomi (Php 70)
Lunch: Special Bulalo (Php 260)

Our Experience

The room was everything we had hoped for and more and the resort blew us away. We wanted to escape the stress, heat and noise of the city and this place was perfect for us. We will absolutely come back and we will make sure to visit every corner of this magical kingdom.

How to Book

You can directly book to Crosswinds Resort Suites. However, the rate is from Php 8, 000 to Php 10 000 per night. But if you’re on a low budget, you can book via Airbnb in the Grand Quartier and it would only cost you Php 2 100 to Php 5 000 depends on the number of guests.

We got our room via Airbnb for only Php 2 350 and this suite is hosted by Cham. We didn’t meet her but she was very responsive whenever we ask her some questions through SMS.

Check in: 1 PM

Check out: Strictly 11 AM

To book, click the link below:

https://abnb.me/1rMuWNuk8T

If you don’t have an account, yet, I can give you a Php 1 600 discount coupon if you sign up here! Discount is only applicable when you take your first trip for Php 3 500 or more.

How to Get There

Via Private Vehicle

  • From Manila, take SLEX exit at Sta. Rosa or Eton. Go all the way up to Tagaytay.
  • Upon reaching the rotunda, turn left and drive straight ahead by about 10 kilometers.
  • Once you pass by Tagaytay Picnic Grove, slow down. Crosswinds Suites is 2 kilometers left from the Tagaytay Picnic Grove.

Source: https://crosswindsresortsuites.com/location/

Via Public Transportation

  • From Manila, ride a bus or van bound to Nasugbu.
  • Drop off Olivarez terminal.
  • Ride a jeep to People’s Park/Picnic Grove.
  • Tell the driver to drop you to Crosswinds Resort Suites.

Contact Information

Crosswinds Luxury Resort Tagaytay Studio Suite (Airbnb): https://abnb.me/2ysWUjyR9T

Website: crosswindsresortsuites.com

E-mail: reservations@crosswindsresortsuites.com

Mobile: +63917 571 4284

Address: Brgy. Iruhin, Central Calamba Road, Tagaytay City, Philippines

What do you think about Crosswinds? Comment below!!

Enjoy Good Food @ Fork N’ Dagger

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry with your friends and family again. Admit it. Preparing a lunch or dinner for them is often exhausting. That is why eating out at a restaurant is sometimes the best choice. It saves you the trouble of doing the dishes so you can enjoy a great meal without any worries. And if you, your friends and/or family happen to be in Baguio, Fork N’ Dagger is the place for you.

Fork N’ Dagger is a Filipino-European restaurant located in Nevada Square, Baguio City. This restaurant offers a wide selection of dishes with a very reasonable price. Foods are good for sharing that’s why it’s a perfect place for couple, friends and family. And did you know that this restaurant just celebrated their first anniversary last October 1, 2018!

The Restaurant

There was a live acoustic band when Benji and I entered Fork N’ Dagger. This restaurant is big enough to accommodate many diners. There’s also an option if you want to eat inside or outside. It has a lovely atmosphere, the lightings are okay and it actually has a romantic vibe especially if you choose to eat outside. The interior is neat and simple yet it looks classy. I also love the big glass windows. People who don’t like small spaces will love this place.

I enjoyed listening to their live band, too. The choices of songs were so good. We couldn’t help but to sing along while enjoying our meal. You can even request songs or you can jam with them if you think you have the confidence or talent to sing in front of many people.

The Service

The staff welcomed us with a genuine smile. They were very friendly and alert when we needed something. Food was served quite fast, too.

The Food

We had a hard time choosing what food to order because there are so many items on their menu. Thankfully, one of their staff recommended their Boodle Junior (Php 650) which is good for 2 persons. This Boodle Junior has fried rice, shrimp, ribs, grilled pork, chicken, potato chips and vegetables with complimentary iced tea. It seems expensive but it’s really worth it because it was plenty and very delicious.

They also have other boodle meals perfect for your barkada or your family. Check the menu below:

We also had Nacho Libre (Php 195). It’s a seasoned tortilla chips topped with shredded lettuce, ground pork/beef, tomatoes, green onion, salsa topped with combination of cheddar cheese and mozarella. Drizzled with ranch dressing! We loved it! It’s very crunchy and cheesy and just seeing it makes us drool. The serving was so large, too. We will definitely try this again when we come back.

We had merienda before we came to Fork N’ Dagger that’s why we couldn’t order more food. We even forgot to order dessert. But if I were you, never missed their giant halo halo. They also have other desserts like cakes in cans and carrot cake.

Photos from Fork N’ Dagger’s facebook

Don’t forget to try their best seller Pork and Dagger Ribs (Php 245).

Photo from Fork N’ Dagger’s facebook

Our Final Verdict

If only we didn’t eat before coming here, I’m sure we’ll be able to order more food from their menu. Coming here was worth it! The service was almost perfect, the friendliness of the staff was great and the food was outstanding! Benji and I enjoyed our food which was beautifully presented and reasonably priced. So call your friends, family or your significant other this holiday season and go to Fork N’ Dagger. Because this is a must place to dine when in Baguio City.

Address: Nevada Square, Green Water Road Corner 2, Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Contact: 0917 681 0056

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/forkNdaggerBaguio/

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